National Geographic : 1965 Feb
(24,000 of them Marines), and more than 650 aircraft. Its responsibility stretches across 30 million square miles, from the Bering Sea to Antarctica, from 160° east longitude (approx imately mid-Pacific) to the Indian Ocean.* Admiral Moorer, the Seventh's commander at the time of my Pacific tour, put this vital mission in new perspective for me. With Dr. James H. Wakelin, Jr., then Assistant Secre tary of the Navy, I rode aboard the carrier U.S.S. Constellation off Okinawa (page 181). "We are face to face with Communism here," Admiral Moorer said, "over the longest front in the world." He gestured seaward. "We are watching the Communists from the Arctic to Southeast Asia. And," he added, "the Communists are watching us, too." The Reds would be dismayed indeed, I thought, to see what Secretary Wakelin and I were viewing then and there. The sea flamed with streaking infernos of napalm. Guided *See, in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: "Pacific Fleet: Force for Peace," by Franc Shor, Sept., 1959, and "Our Navy in the Far East," by Adm. Arthur W. Radford, Oct., 1953. Television screen shows a Douglas A-3D Sky warrior's angle of approach to U.S.S. Ticonderoga as an aid to the nearby landing signal officer. Video-tape recordings of every touchdown allow pilots to study their own performances and cor rect mistakes. Shimmering heat makes phantoms of men and planes as a Crusader shoots off Enterprise'srun way. Its roaring jet washes the flight deck with shock waves of sound.